2017 Spring Interns
Raneem Alkhatib is a junior at Michigan State University, majoring in International Relations with minors in Muslim Studies and Film. Raneem is of Palestinian heritage, which she incorporates into her studies and life. She is interested in not only Palestine, but the broader Middle East and Islamic world. Raneem studied the role of Islam in post-Soviet states in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2016 and hopes to see more of the Middle East in the future. Last summer, Raneem visited Jordan to work on a documentary called, “Letters from the Diaspora: 50 years Later” which revolved around Palestinian refugees who came to Jordan in 1967 and were never allowed to return—a topic that is deeply personal and reflective of her own family’s story. Raneem sees media and cinema as a platform for Palestinians, and Arab Americans, to have their voices heard worldwide. She is looking forward to returning to Michigan to complete her senior year in the fall. Raneem is AAI’s Communications Intern.
Samantha Leathley is a recent graduate of American University in Washington, DC, where she studied International Studies with a Middle East and North Africa focus. Her path of study combined an emphasis on national security issues and issues of gender, race, and identity. Samantha has attended Middlebury College’s Arabic language immersion program, and will be attending a second session with the program in June 2017. In 2015, Samantha worked with the Rumi Forum and assisted with their efforts to foster interfaith dialogue and international understanding. Her independent writing on the early history of American Muslims and the development of countering violent extremism methods is ongoing. Samantha is AAI’s Programs Intern.
Basseem Maleki is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon where he minored in Political Science and majored in International Studies with a focus on conflict resolution and the Middle East. Basseem is of Iranian and Lebanese heritage and is passionate about issues concerning the Middle East and its people. Before moving to DC, Basseem studied abroad at the American University of Beirut and spent an additional semester interning for Search for Common Ground in Beirut, Lebanon. He wrote his senior thesis about Hollywood and the mass media’s portrayal of Arabs and Muslims. Basseem regularly travels to Lebanon and enjoys talking about his love of the country, its people, and its food to anyone who will listen. Basseem is AAI’s Government Relations Intern.
Kelly Russo is from Atlanta, Georgia. She is the AAI’s external intern for the Brookings Institution. Currently a third-year studying International Affairs and Arabic at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, she is very passionate about the Middle East and United States foreign policy. Her experience in the Middle East includes studying in Marrakesh, Morocco for a summer. At UGA, she volunteers with RefUGA, helping to plan the interfaith Run for Syrian Refugees, and Athens for Justice in Palestine. Kelly loves brunch, traveling, and exploring the city of D.C. in her free time. She recently studied abroad in Lyon, France to study politics in the European Union and the effects that the migration crisis has had on the local populations.